Exotic fancypants swimsuits bestow ridiculous Aquaman-like qualities on anyone who wears one, which is why swimming officials have officially banned the suits—right after every record in the books is shattered beyond repair.
Swimming's governing body actually passed down the ban on Friday, two days before the the World Championships began in Rome. No more full bodysuits that coat you in whale oil or whatever and no fancy materials that bend space time around your thighs. However, the ruling will not take effect until 2010, giving everyone just enough time to set dozens of new, unimaginable records before the ban renders them untouchable forever.
There were eight events on day one of the Championships on Sunday, and six of them ended with new world records being set. One of the records—which had belonged to eel-man hybrid Ian Thorpe for seven years—was beaten by Germany's Paul Biedermann, who bested his own qualifying time from one month ago by 6.5 seconds. Federica Pellegrini became the first woman ever to break four minutes in the 400 freestyle race. American Ariana Kukors was an alternate in the 200 individual medley, but set the fastest time ever when her teammate scratched from the race. That makes sense right?
The rest of the week should see dozens of more records fall, thanks mostly to the super-slippery, super-buoyant suits that have become standard issue equipment. Everyone is in agreement that many of these records could never have been reached without the aid of these newfangled suits, and once they're gone, those marks may never be reached again. (At least not for many, many years. Does that mean you should learn how to use the asterisk key on your typewriter machine? Or get on a plane to Italy to catch your last opportunity to witness a world record moment? This all assumes that you care about swimming records, of course, which you probably don't because Michael Phelps is not the one breaking them.
Oh, did I mention he's terrible now? He completely changed his stroke and only came in second in his heat. Probably because of the pot.
World Records Fall, and It's Only Day 1 [NY Times]
Are these worlds making a mockery of swimming? [AP]
Michael Phelps: Turning back the page [LA Times]
Speedo not happy with FINA ruling on suits [SF Chronicle]